Bear Safety While Hiking

Bear Safety When Hiking

I have always had a love for hiking, but in the last year have been doing a lot more of it. Of course, we are always hiking in bear country so have to be aware.

I’ve always been nervous about hiking in the bush for fear of meeting up with a bear, but I’m learning it’s okay, we just need to be prepared that if we are hiking in bear country the chance is there for an encounter at one time or another.

My Grandmother used to tell me that Bears are just as afraid of us are we are of them, true they are, but in recent years some bears are getting used to seeing people and in some places don’t seem to be as afraid anymore so it’s more important to be prepared if you are hiking on trails known for bear activity.

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Tips for Hiking in Bear Country

The first thing to do is always pack bear spray, other precautions you can take are:

  • Don’t hike alone – two or more people talking will make more noise
  • Making noise – talking and singing will let a bear know your near and can be enough to scare him away
  • Bear Bells – they make noise but are sometimes not loud enough but they may help between those conversations
  • Avoid any areas where you may see birds circling or smell something dead – likely it could be the bears food
  • A bear has a strong sense of smell – avoid wearing any perfume or scented deodorant or lotions.
  • Stay away from areas that are known to have a high bear population – do your research before hiking
  • If you are packing food, make sure it is packed in tightly sealed containers and pack all your garbage and leftover out with you in sealed containers as well
  • Stick to the trail, don’t wander off, not only can you get lost doing this, but your chances of encountering a bear are increased
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and make noise if you are entering an area where the bear may not hear you like a place where there is running water (we often hike to waterfalls) or even if its windy or you are coming around a dense corner.

Bears are most active in the spring and summer months and like to wander around in the early morning and later afternoon hours, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be around at other times, but you can increase the odds of seeing one at these times.

What to do if you encounter a Bear

If you encounter any bear be sure to remain as calm as you can

Black Bear or Grizzly Bear – know the difference

Where we do the majority of our hiking there are mostly Black Bears although I have heard of the odd Grizzly Bear sighting, so make sure you know the difference between the two, because how you want to react will depend on which Bear you are encountering.

  • Grizzly Bears have a hump on their back between the shoulders – Black Bears do not have this hump
  • Grizzly Bears have small round ears – black bear has more prominent ears
  • Grizzly Bears have a dished side profile – black bears have a straight profile
  • Grizzly Bears have long light colored claws – black bears have short dark colored claws

Black Bear Safety Tips

  • never approach a bear
  • never try to feed a bear
  • remain calm
  • talk, sing, make noise so the bear know you are there
  • never run from a bear, slowly back away
  • make sure the bear has an escape route – don’t corner it
  • to scare a bear away, yell, bang pots – make loud noises. Use an air horn and make yourself look as big as possible.
  • If it attacks fight back

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Grizzly Bear Safety Tips

Grizzly Bears behave different from black bears.

  • never try to feed a bear
  • never approach a bear
  • remain calm
  • talk, sing, make noise so the bear know you are there
  • don’t run if you encounter a grizzly bear
  • if attacked play dead
  • stay quiet and try not to move
  • keep legs spread appart and pack on your back
  • when the bear leaves – stay silent and still for as long as you can

Here is some really good information on bear safety and awareness. If going out hiking or in bear country please be aware and learn as much as you can to prepare and be safe.


Coghlan’s Bowl of Bear Bells (Pack of 20)

Leather Bear Bell W/ Snap

Coghlan’s Bear Bell with Magnetic Silencer, Red


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HyperWhistle The Original Worlds Loudest Whistle up to 142db Loud, Very Long Range, for Referee, Coaches, Instructors, Sports, Teachers, Life Guard, Self Defense, Survival, Emergency uses (Black)

FRONTIERSMAN Bear Canister for Backpacking & Hiking – Insider Bear Safe: Lightweight Bear Proof Container, Slim Design for Easier Packing & More Comfortable to Carry with High Capacity Food Storage

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1 thought on “Bear Safety While Hiking”

  1. Personally, this is one of the reasons why I am always really scared to go hiking because I have heard some stories about the bears. Sometimes when they are hungry, they can come down to our streets which is already scary on its own. I will take your precaution though whenever I find some that can convince me out of my fears.


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